Sustainable development can be described as a process of ‘architectural development’ which can be considered to accommodate the diversified requirements of today’s modern era, in a highly efficient and environmental friendly way. This methodology considers the fact that through sustainability of natural systems, resources and the environment, our future generation will have access to the resources of this world and we might be able to maintain the natural balance of the planet we live in.
There is an increasing agreement among humans today that the decisions made by them are going to influence other individuals and their environment. Although it is true that these decisions may not have a sudden effect/impact, there is a growing concern that in the long run, everything is going to contribute its share and have a powerful impact on the world we inhabit (He and Zhang, 2011).
Infrastructure lies at the heart of the economy. The construction around us has deeply influenced our daily life. Regardless the ways in which it consumes natural assets suggests that it is liable for a considerable proportion of the critical matter of the local and global environmental change (Miyazawa, 2012). Humans are unsustainable in using natural assets for building new infrastructure and using fabricated structures. The toxin levels that are emitted in the processes of construction are additionally a disturbing factor.
In this way, there is a requirement for the construction business to embrace more sustainable designs for homes/buildings and development methods. The objective of sustainable architecture is to boost the advancement of structures that satisfies the user needs, help the economy and have a neutralizing effect on the environment, as shown in the figure below in terms of four major aspects;
Figure 1: Sustainable Development Model (source: created using MS Office)
Therefore, it is important to highlight the significance of sustainable models and understand how individuals at every level can contribute positively at economical, social, cultural and ecological platforms. But how does this model work? To answer this question, one has to look deep into the operation of this model in details, which is the primary aim of this report.
The term sustainable building and green building are frequently taken to have the same significance, yet there is a contrast. Green buildings have a lower consumption of energy and therefore discharge lower volumes of CO2. Whereas sustainable buildings are the ones which are efficient in energy, as well as which are fabricated to the point of improved efficiency, quality and affordability in the long run.
These structures conceivably help in increasing comfort and quality of life at each phase of their life cycle, while expanding the monetary sustainability of the venture and decreasing the harmful environmental effects. Structures which are merged with the sustainable designs and development hence minimize the utilization of raw materials, energy, water, and different resources over their whole life cycle (Brito, 2012).
Recent research and development works and studies on sustainable homes and architecture have presented enormous business opportunities as well as challenges for today’s developers, engineers and architects. Major cities/towns are being developed rapidly throughout the globe, with much of the works being completed in the construction of housing societies.
This has established considerable pressure on efficient-utilization of energy and material-resources for the construction of such sustainable, energy efficient homes (Mell, 2007a). The primary influential parameters that are directly associated with the subject of this research are as follows;
The research aims of this paper are as follows;
The objectives of the research to be conducted are as follows;
The rationale of this study involves various parameters of the construction industry, including adaptation of the concept of green infrastructure, effective spatial-planning preparation of layout, sustainable design developments, smart use of materials, energy conservation, technology utilization and various other concepts. These methods will then be applied in a form of a case study to showcase the procedures which can be adopted for successful implementation of these parameters. The learning / outcome of this specific research will be provided in a form of conclusive remarks in the latest chapter of this paper.
The research conducted in the last many years has emphasized on the importance smart construction techniques. The development of sustainable infrastructure of homes, buildings, towers, landscape etc ensures that the resources/materials are utilized through an engineered-platform which puts much consideration on the basic design parameters such as; energy efficiency, sustainability, durability, and productivity (Guy and Farmer, 2001).
In relevance to the dissertation topic of this paper, it is important to outline the actual significance of the development of sustainable homes with respect to environmental impacts, economical and social impacts, layout the background of widespread sustainable building development and understand why the world has seen a considerable driving force towards adaptation of this methodology. All these concepts have been briefly presented in this chapter through reviewing the relevant literature and analyzing the results produced in recent R&D.
Different research works, case studies and developments works have been conducted by various research groups around the globe, and the results demonstrate that the stakeholders of the architectural business in the UK have perceived the imperativeness of developments in sustainable buildings.
Yet the real count of sustainably planned buildings in the country still has the ability to expand; which is because of the fact that many construction organizations are yet to extensively execute the best practices associated with the sustainable developments. The study directed by the WWF in a joint effort with Insight Investment delivered the following results;
Figure 2: Sustainability analyses of major companies in UK (Source: United Nations, 2002)
Figure 3: Sustainability attributes (Source: United Nations, 2002)
The overall results demonstrate the extent to which the organizations have reacted to the needs of sustainable working practices. The study further pointed out that enhanced governance systems can have an immediate effect on society and the environment.
Analyzing these results reveal that that the UK construction industry has the capacity to enhance sustainable construction processes, as a general sustainability score of 35 to 47 percent was attained. This can be attributed to different reasons, and some of them have been exhibited as underneath.
This is thought to be the basic impediment to a widespread popularity of sustainable construction practice. Research presented by Davies et al. (2006) and the Countryside Agency (2006) recommended that spreading the information in the field of sustainable architecture through strategic planning and multi functionality could help resolve these issues.
Literature reviews and analysis further show that training about the guidelines and plans of sustainable housing structures is an extremely important factor (Miyazawa, 2012; Blackman and Thackray, 2007; Mell, 2009).
Hence it can reasoned that there is a necessity to educate and instruct the building specialists as well as the people involved in this field, generally about what sustainable outlines are and why we ought to strive for it.
There is a need of having a center of excellence to encourage the applications of sustainable architecture and practices, and therefore the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 suggested that center of excellence would work as a knowledge body, to provide training and education to the stakeholders of this industry.
Figure 4: the concept of Centre of Excellence (Source: MS Office)
The expense of sustainable housing designs can additionally create an obstruction to the broad usage of sustainable techniques. A common thought is that general users would not request the sustainable practices unless the techniques spare them the expense of construction. It has frequently been seen that the true costs of building a sustainable building are not as high as one may anticipate them to be, as demonstrated from the study led by the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Program, shown in figure 5 (EEBPP, 1999).
Another factor which could deter the potential development of sustainable designs/activities is that the people who are in the position put resources into sustainable buildings are often not in a position to benefit from the savings later. This could be valid for real estate investors.
Figure 5: the cost saving potential (capital as well as operational) during different stages of the building design/development (Source: EEBPP, 1999)
Green houses are more often the result of an integrated configuration strategy which is prepared through a designated design and development methodology. Sustainable house contemplations generally require to be incorporated into the planning and design procedure at an early phase of the construction venture. Subsequently, it is the designers, owners and developers who can have the most say in what kinds of sustainable equipments/parts are included in the building plans.
Any lack of interest, correspondence and necessary training can also adversely affect the growth of sustainable practices in any project. The concept of a "green group" is generally that all stakeholders, subcontractors, future occupants of the house and the support staff be informed about the idea at an early stage and taught about the project aims so everyone grasps, helps, and feels to be a part of the project.
New products are being produced through design and research being carried out in different parts of the world. General adaptation and importance of these materials must be promoted to guarantee that these effective materials are being used in the construction industry. The fluctuating degrees of awareness about what products are available and where they could be found can be determined and enhanced through awareness and marketing projects.
The factual analyses of various literature reviews / case studies provide conclusive evidence that sustainability consideration in any architectural practice has to be prioritized, to ensure growth in all the 4 aspects of the sustainability model of Figure-1. Summarized form of findings from further literature analyses on environmental as well as economical and social impacts have been detailed in the following section.
Building structures exhaust a large amount of the natural resources which consequently generates a significant impact on the environment. These ecological factors are a major driving factor for the sustainable architecture. Structures have a certain measure of 'stored' energy depending on the material used, for instance steel, glass, concrete and other materials.
The fabrication of these materials expends many of the non-renewable resources and this subsequently has an adverse effect on the environment. Given a limited life-time of these structures, all the buildings are eventually demolished before new ones are built, which results in a chain of adverse impacts on the environment. Building operations further add to significant levels of environmental contaminations, which cannot be ignored (Beatley, 2000).
The fundamental objective of sustainable architecture is to work towards diverse environmental protection activities and to develop structures with reduced environmental concerns (TEP, 2005). A few environmental benefits of utilization of this development are listed as below;
The list of the benefits can be further extended for a variety of benefits with respect to enhanced / efficient energy consumption, increased health and safety, implementation of mitigation measures, effective resource planning and protection of natural habitat.
Accommodating human demands while marinating the balance planet earth, and to secure the world's diminishing natural resources is a global test. It is hard to place exact financial values on sustainable buildings and their improvement; however it is vital that organizations help the case for sustained financing.
Despite the fact that there are solid proofs which highlights the financial potential of sustainable architecture and social sustainability, it is not easy to persuade the investors/stakeholders to invest on the readily available sustainable techniques to gain value added benefits.
To show the net financial benefit of utilizing sustainable homes/structures, an arrangement of studies have been conducted where monetary evaluation has been accomplished, for example; countryside properties environmental, ethical and social report of the year 2002.
These findings propose that sustainable architecture can surely have a positive effect on local and regional financial position. New jobs, business advancements and progressive internal financing are a few of the considerable benefit of sustainable architecture procedures being implemented (Loe, 2000).
Development costs for sustainable architecture are mostly discovered to be lower. This is because the materials utilized are by and large recycled and henceforth their expenses are lower. Moreover, there is a certain lack of determination about the long run economic effects of sustainable advancement. Long term assessment of various financial effects have been initiated, however these simulations are still in their early stages, and influential results may be achieved from these recent developments in coming years.
A couple of models hint that sustainable advancement could incite long-run improvement in the global GDP as compared to how things are at present. A case of this could be a higher financing in green energy generation in green homes which will hopefully bring about further innovative concepts (Miruna Dudau, 2011).
Sustainable infrastructure has numerous social advantages which specifically benefit the local groups of people. The most significant one is the advancement of physical health through less toxic materials being utilized as a part of the development and better quality of air resulting from lesser unhealthy emissions from houses and the surrounding environment (Duhl, 2005).
Because of sustainable plans, the general population can save cash flows which were initially used on the additional measures of heating expenses, for instance. With less monetary load, the residents are provided with opportunity to socialize and create better living environment, henceforth the society is overall benefited.
Sustainable advancement and shifting towards a green economy can provide motivation to further investigate environmental costs. Law enforcing agencies have been working towards setting the rules for business divisions that are involved in financing, especially in areas that are valuable for the environment. An example could be lower taxed on purchasing vehicles that are fuel-effective and solar powered energy systems.
This will also have social effects; the overall population will be encouraged to purchase such innovative tools/equipment and help the environment at the same time. It is a well known fact that the present arrangement of government can help to achieve sustainable development targets, detail of which has been given as below
Since we have established the fact that sustainability enhancement is an absolute necessity, it is important now to understand what the role of the government is and how the government has planned to overcome the obstacles in this respect? UK's Climate Change Act 2008 requires the architectural industry to ensure reduction in emission of greenhouse gases to a certain number/level by the year 2050.
This proposed reduction has been targeted to be less than 80% of 1990 levels. The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) obliges the relevant organizations to submit yearly emission reports. In the event that the emission amount is larger than a specified limit, the organization will need to pay a fine. So the companies are driven to reduce their emission amounts and hence their energy consumption due to this CRC.
The Energy Act 2011 is another law that states that by April 2018, leasing any private or business premises which has not demonstrated to achieve the required minimum standard energy efficiency will be against the law.
Figure 6: estimated reduction of rate of emissions for green-house gases; 2009 - 2050 (CCC, 2010)
Figure 6 shows that there is a need to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades, so that the requirements set by the UK regulatory acts (CCC, 2010) can be met.
Therefore, there is now active participation from industries in developing methods to shift the technology being used to greater efficiency. Some of the techniques available to achieve these targets are discussed in detail in Chapters 3 & 4 of this paper. It is important to note that apart from the legislation changes, other influential economical, environmental and social impacts, as presented previously, have also played an important role in the sustainable development
It is the government's role to guarantee that problems, as identified in the previous section are resolved and a strategy which is comprehensive in nature is executed to guarantee widespread use of the green materials and sustainable practices.
The authorities must urge the influential groups to make decisions in light of a concern towards the health, safety and welfare of the general public. This might be attained through an administrative methodology of managing certain public acts (denying and obliging certain activities) or non-administrative methodology (giving certain motivations to the individuals or simply encouraging certain public acts).
Henceforth, it could be inferred that the administration has a duty to get involved where private exercises are undermining the benefits to the public. Practically implementing smart engineering designs, utilization of sustainable materials, presentation of the new conceptual techniques and coordinating the utilization of energy which delivers lesser measures of carbon discharges must be the essential goals of the strategy of the government to sustain the environment.
The comprehensive literature review conducted in this report demonstrated that sustainable development is undoubtedly beneficial in various aspects, such as environmentally, economically and socially. It results in better performance of structures and enhances efficiency in the design. Moreover, the government agencies are also working keenly on the implementation of sustainable practices.
Therefore, it is important to further investigate the methodology which can be utilized to practically make the designs sustainable. As the topic of this report suggests, the research of this paper is directed towards the development of sustainable homes while considering the energy efficient systems and renewable energy sources. The following chapter sheds light on these key parameters.
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The fact that sustainable infrastructure is a necessity was established from the literature reviews. But the question remains how these methods can be practically adopted? To answers this question, one has to analyze the effectiveness of various available technologies, and eventually develop understanding on how they work. Secondary data collection method / strategy is used for this research, which has been attained from different research articles, case studies and books completed in the last many years.
Analysis of the results produced in research articles and studies reveals that there is an immense potential for further enhancements in the field of sustainable development of homes. Economical as well energy analyses additionally demonstrate that any design which fundamentally utilizes advanced techniques in construction methods and the use of renewable energy resources can prove to be a viable and gainful practice (Kambites and Owen, 2007).
There are open doors in the engineering fields in different industries that can largely benefit from the latest practices and technologies. It must be further noted that innovations which have turned out to be useful are yet to be embraced at much higher scale because of lack of procurement, education and due the possible resistance in adapting to change.
Various construction techniques are available to aid the structural design in becoming environmental friendly, energy efficient, and thereby being sustainable. The strategy adopted in this research is through carrying out Investigation of these basic techniques which can be applied to construct a sustainable home.
These methods include use of renewable energy resources and materials, environmentally designs of the homes, use state of the art technologies and the precautions which the builders and in some case residents can adopt to ensure enhanced sustainability of homes. These methods will then be applied in the from a case study in the later chapter of this paper
The decision of building/house material is a standout amongst the most critical parts of building development. The selection of the material choice must be based upon the potential of the material to be reused/re-utilized and its effect on nature.
The selection of raw materials relies upon elements which are thought to be important from the starting point, from the material's extraction, to its processing, transportation and bundling, and lastly to its utilization and post-utilization (or reuse) as a finished product. Only those materials which can meet the green standards in these individual stages must be utilized in sustainable-structural planning designs (Bennets et al, 2002).
The usage of healthy and safe building materials brings about better indoor air quality for the occupants of the house. Most volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have a very high vapor pressure when released into the air, especially indoors. Thus the utilization of such materials can have unsafe results for the health of the inhabitants.
Their emission sources incorporate a large mixture of items including building materials, paints, decorations, and cleaning products. Numerous markers have begun creating low and VOC-free materials and items. Use of materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) must be avoided / minimized since its fabrication as well as disposal process have been reported to produce adverse effects on environment and public health (Thormark, 2006).
There is a vast range of data which provides definite answers to which materials have turn out to be the most nature friendly in the form of comparison with different materials. The majority of this data is promptly accessible, so the sustainable architecture could consolidate the utilization of the materials as a feature of the design. Keeping in mind the end goal to further investigate the effect and imperativeness of material selection on the sustainability, an example has been incorporated in this paper as follows;
Steel frames are by and large the most well-known choice in making frames of sustainable structures. Steel has different favorable factors compared to other types of building materials. Cement and wood are other basic building materials accessible in the UK. The cost of arranging and making the whole steel outline of a house, in reality, is almost the same as using timber frames. It is a proven, less expensive option if it is being used to develop housing or multi-story buildings (EEF UK Steel, 2013).
Steel has the superiority of being an inorganic material which does not break, curve, bend or split over the long run. Also, steel does not experience the ill effects of being demolished by pests such as wood, for example, termites or parasites. Thereby it is unanimously agreed that steel is one of the strongest construction materials available in the UK.
Besides, there is the point of interest of these steel structures being equipped for adapting to any future extension proposed for the steel structure. The moment that there are any expansions needed; all the manufacturer needs to do is to incorporate extra steel frames and sheets to expand the wall space. Steel structures can withstand seismic tremor, snow falls, strong winds and various other kinds of natural calamities.
Structural steel likewise has a much better strength to weight ratio contrasted with other building materials. The outcome of this is a building which is lighter and consequently it needs a less deep and expensive foundation (Anderson and Carter, 2009).
Steel frames have a good aesthetic appeal and their development is quick and there is a very small development site waste. To some degree, fast development is not achievable with cement and timber.
In addition, steel structures have the ability to benefit mortgage holders and advancement experts themselves, as using steel frames can save a huge amount of trees and nature's space. Steel is a completely recyclable material, without any decrease in its value, whereas it is not true for timbers which are a rapidly diminishing resource. A good home design nowadays obliges it to be of high strength, cost effective, easy to make and ecologically friendly.
Nearly 86 percent of the structural steel frameworks utilized right now within the UK, according to Anderson and Carter (2009), is reused and recycled to create new steel products after the completion of their life cycle, and an additional 13 percent is used again in their current state.
As per a survey led by Tata Steel Europe Ltd, studies have demonstrated that the steel holds the best piece of the pie in the development of multi story structures in the UK. The study results are shown as underneath:
Figure 7: Comparison of market share (Source: Corus Construction, 2014)
The results demonstrate that the utilization of steel in the construction business has seen increase over the last couple of decades, in contrast with concrete. This examination was regarding material choice mostly for multi storey structures and it strengthens the argument that the construction industry is shifting towards more efficient and green materials. The same method of materials selection will be applied for the construction of an example sustainable home.
Use of renewable energy sources for providing power to homes and buildings has been one of the most important research topics in the last many decades. Various technologies have evolved and some of widely used technologies are given as below;
Solar cells have the mechanism to convert sunlight into electricity. Semiconducting materials are utilized as a part of machine chips to produce these solar cells.
The basic mechanism is that the sunlight is absorbed by the material in the solar cell and the energy in sunlight knocks-out electrons in the material's atoms. These electrons then flow through the connected circuitry as electric current. This process of changing light energy (photons) to electric energy (voltage) is known as the photovoltaic effect (PV).
Photovoltaic System (Source: SunGreen Systems)
Although a PV system produces electricity when sunlight is incident on it, some other parts are also required to effectively conduct, convert, control, distribute, and store the electricity produced by the system.
Depending on the system's functional requirements, the major additional components that are required may include DC-AC power inverter, battery and its controller, auxiliary sources of energy and the related electrical load (electric appliances).
Batteries are usually used in PV systems for storing the energy the system produces during the day, and to supply it to the appliance when energy conversion from sunlight is not taking place, for example during the night and on a cloudy day. Likewise, the battery controller protects the battery from overcharging and over-discharging.
Advantages of PV systems; Solar energy is a renewable resource that can be exploited as much as we want and it will not run out, unlike fossil fuels. Some of the advantages are as follows:
Disadvantages of PV systems; However, there are certain disadvantages to the use of PV systems.
Wind energy has been in use by humans for a considerable length of time. It was used to drive sailing ships across the seas. A single windmill can handle the energy required by the irrigation system, water pumping, electric lights and other energy needs of a family. At present, however, windmills are being used to produce energy, mostly for industries only. Many wind turbines have the capacity to store large amount of energy at one time and then feed it to the power grid.
Wind power is a renewable energy source. It decreases a country's dependence on others for oil and gas supply. It doesn't result in any air contamination and has made a large number of employments in last few decades. Technological advances have cut down the expense needed to set up a wind power plant and once set up; the electricity is produced almost negligible cost
Wind Energy (source: Manitoba Eco Network)
Wind energy can only be utilized within zones which encounter high winds. This implies that it cannot serve as an energy source in any part of the Earth. These plants sometimes produce loud noise and so they cannot be set up within residential areas. These two disadvantages have made the utilization of wind energy to only specific regions.
Hydroelectric power stations are installed to convert the kinetic energy of moving water into mechanical energy which is engineered as an input to the turbines. In the next phase, the moving turbines change this mechanical energy into electrical energy using generators. Dams around the globe have been set up only for this reason. Hydro-power is the biggest source of renewable energy on the planet.
There are many types of hydro-power plants. The choice of hydro-power plant relies on upon the amount of volume and the degree of water flow. Hydro-power is renewable, predictable, and a constant energy source. They are environmentally friendly since they produce no greenhouse gases. On the other hand, they may have some disadvantages. Hydro-power plants may cause harmful impact on aquatic life, need a huge capital to be developed, decrease the flow of water, which may harm the farming process, and may cause a disaster in the event that they break down.
Reviewing the various renewable energy sources and systems, it can be concluded that any of one these methods or their combination can be used to supply energy to homes. The selection criteria of these resources is presented in detail in the next chapter of the paper, however it can be stated at this point that through availability of sufficient resources, much of the alternate energy supply systems can utilized for the enhancement in the sustainability of any home. Successful implementation of this strategy may not be the only solution in terms of sustainability, as energy optimization is another excellent method through which the system performance can be enhanced.
While moving towards more clean ways to create energy, we can make huge progressions in utilizing the produced energy more efficiently. We can make various changes to minimize energy consumption and counter the global warming effect. Amid the recent two decades, energy efficiency has enhanced at a rate quicker than it has been adopted.
There are many ways in which energy consumption of a house can be reduced. One of the compelling strategies incorporates passive heating and cooling, and utilizing the natural sun light as the primary source of lighting in the building, of course during the day timings. Consideration of high energy efficiency is most vital when designing the energy supply systems which are to be introduced for the house. The most effective frameworks must be chosen which meets the required capacity.
Various equipments, for example, fluorescent and LED lights, have been developed to meet the standards of higher energy efficiency. In numerous places, buildings and lifestyles, many processes waste huge quantities of energy. Supplanting standard fluorescent lighting with the efficient fluorescent lighting can spare something like 80 kWh of energy for every installation every year. This interprets into a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 17 kg for every installation per annum. This method has also been named as "Retrofit" of residential/business buildings.
On a major scale, one illustration of the use of such energy optimization could be cited here are the Combined Heat and Power systems, also known as CHP system.
The CHP framework has opened many doors for sustainable development as it has been intended to increase the efficiency of electricity production and heating systems. This engineering accomplishment uses regionally accessible resources as the fuel for energy production, for example, biomass and waste, which additionally decreases the transportation costs which further diminishes the CO2 emission (Kelly and Pollitt, 2010).
The CHP system has the ability to use the low grade heat created amid the system operation. Uses for this low grade heat include steam generation, water and space heating. This unique quality allows for the efficiency of the CHP system to be around 70%, which is respectably higher as compared to 40% of other systems which do not make use of the low-grade heat.
Regardless of this incredible plus point, the percentage of CHP out of the total power generation of UK is just 6%. This is a major reason behind the UK being viewed as inefficient in extracting useful energy from primary energy sources. It is worth noting that Denmark, which has been ranked as the second most energy efficient country in the world, derives 50% of its electricity from CHP plants.
The CHP system offers many opportunities for sustainable development. We have already seen some of the ways in which CHP systems increase energy efficiency. We can now see other benefits that CHP systems have to offer.
Since local renewable resources are being used to generate heat and electricity, such as waste and biomass, transport distances are drastically minimized and so are the resulting CO2 emissions. There are other benefits to the local community as well. Jobs relating the management and maintenance of local power stations are created which leads to the growth of local employment and economic rates.
There is also the benefit of being able to choose the most affordable and locally available fuel, since any fuel can be used for the production of hot water required by the district heating system. Hence, increasingly expensive and non-reliable fossil fuel supplies can be provided an alternative form in areas with any other type of fuel available (He and Zhang, 2011).
Other economic benefits include minimization of transmission and distribution losses. These losses (which accounted for around 8% of total power consumption in the UK) can be avoided because CHP plants are located close to their area of demand. Using CHP systems instead of the conventional natural gas boilers can offer greater efficiency and cost savings as regards to the operation, cleaning and maintenance of the heating systems (Kelly and Pollitt, 2010).
Whenever there is a wide distribution network of power, there occur power system anomalies. Use of CHP system decentralizes the power distribution and so the quality of the transmitted power can be effectively improved. This decreases power losses and improves the life of the equipment. Decentralized CHP-DH networks also allows to avoid developing large, centralized plants which are capital-intensive. Also, there is no need for constructing new natural gas storage facilities and upgrading the infrastructure of the national grid power.
Moreover, it has been demonstrated by DECC (2009) that CHP-DH systems have some of the highest technically achievable CO2 savings and some of the lowest costs per ton of CO2 spared when analyzed against other contending technologies.
Taking everything into account, following are the benefits offered by the heat distribution systems that utilize CHP:
Considering the domestic scale, if a family can satisfy their requirements using a small sized refrigerator, they should not purchase one larger than their requirements, even when they can bear the extra cost without any problem. A good measure of an appliance's efficiency is its energy star rating. An alternate method that can turn out to be valuable for efficient energy use is supplanting old machines with latest, more energy efficient models (Smith, 2001).
Acquiring energy and water efficient systems can likewise help in enhancing the energy effectiveness of the whole building. Water use ought to additionally be minimized inside the building, and this might be guaranteed through different water-efficient gadgets in the frameworks where water input is needed. Rainwater catchments and Gray water accumulation are two procedures to supplement the water supply of a building. Both of these techniques demonstrate amazingly valuable in enhancing the water productivity of the building.
An exceptionally successful method to reduce energy loss from different appliances which are not being used is by introducing an automated power supply system. This checks if the appliance is being used or not and subsequently turns on or turns off the energy supply to it. Solar powered photovoltaic cells and little wind energy turbines are getting to be more accessible to users nowadays. These advances extraordinarily lessen the energy reliance on non-renewable assets like fossil fuels. Thereby, these methods help in making the structure more green and sustainable (Smith, 2001).
House building must be designed with specific focus on the comfort of residents. Therefore, methods which can be considered to provide comfort while ensuring higher level of sustainability must be explored. The most generally used structural design features which can guarantee a sustainable home design are as follows:
Air tightness; An enclosed and air tight structure of a house building ensures that the air loss is prevented. Various types of sealing are performed from the inside of the building to ensure air tightness, having the following advantages:
External insulation (EWI); External insulation (EWI) of the structure walls is vital for energy conservations, which is also considered to be a pivotal factor in the growing technology implementation of sustainability. This helps prevent heat loss from the structure and consequently save on a large amount of heating cost and CO2 emissions (Mendler et al, 2000).
EWI systems have the following advantages:
The two commonly used materials for external insulation are rock mineral wool and extended polystyrene. Since both of these have their unique features, the choice depends on where they have to be installed and the prevailing conditions.
Internal wall insulation; Cold roof, warm roof and internal wall insulation are the techniques for internal insulation of the walls. This gives the same advantages as the external insulation.
The front and back walls of the building, along with its side gable needs internal insulation, since heat is exchanged with the surroundings in these locations. Insulation on the walls can be installed mechanically or adhesively. The insulation material is made up of composite boards, which are made up of a vapor barrier and plaster board.
Ground Source Heat Pumps; The heat inside the Earth, called geothermal energy, continually streams outward from its core and can give a valuable supplement to warming and cooling. Geothermal heat pumps, also known as GeoExchange, ground-source, earth-coupled, or water-source heat pumps, are being used since the late 1940s. They utilize the temperature of the earth, which remains fairly constant as the medium of exchange rather than exchanging with the air outside. This permits the framework to arrive at reasonably high efficiencies (300% to 600%) compared to the air-source heat pumps with efficiency of about 175% to 250%.
Like other types of heat pumps, ground source heat pumps can provide heating, cooling, and optionally supply the house with heated water (if so equipped). A few models of geothermal heat pumps provide more comfort and savings of energy using two-speed compressors and variable fans. In comparison to air-source heat pumps, they are longer lasting, quiet, require little upkeep, and are less dependent on the outside air temperature.
Surprisingly, a large majority of the population thinks that they need to live over a hot spring, a geyser or some other powerful geothermal heat source to have the capacity to utilize this source. However, this is a long way from reality, and this natural resource can be used almost anywhere.
Other insulations; The pipes carrying hot water to the buildings are likewise secured by protecting material to avoid loss of heat and conserve energy. Many materials like glass wool, mineral wool, polyethylene, rigid foam, cellular glass and others are accessible for pipe coating and insulating (Guy and Farmer, 2001).
There are also methods available to insulate doors and windows. Besides being energy efficient, they also provide good security. Double glazing of window minimizes heat loss through them. The air or vacuum present between the two glass panes provides poor conductor of heat and hence minimum heat escapes the windows only through radiation.
There are different types of vents and membranes available for roof ventilation and flooring. These provide minimum heat loss and energy consumption.
Considering the long term benefits these products offer, they are not very expensive to install in buildings. The amount saved from the lower energy bills from installing these products equals out their price within a few years. Also, these products add to the building's value, and anybody purchasing a building would favor that one which has a sustainable architectural design and features.
The research method / approach used in this paper has provided detailed information on how to develop a sustainable home in-terms of fundamental sustainable practices, renewable energy sources utilization, and energy optimization. However, this approach only provided qualitative data. Quantitative research methods is not possible while considering all of the general aspects and parameters, as this requires detailed analyses of one or two specific parameters. The following chapter investigates the construction of sustainable homes via using all these aspects, and analyzes the outcomes of their application.
A case study has been prepared to present detailed information on how to construct a sustainable home. The practical and fundamental practices, as briefly outlined in the methodology chapter, have been included in the study completed in this Chapter.
There are numerous elements which comprise a building's sustainable architecture. Discussing all these segments at an elementary level is out of the scope of this paper; however the significant perspectives of these elements have been covered. It is important to note that none of the elements if individually implemented can guarantee a sustainable outline; rather a synthesis of these elements would bring about a sustainable structure and the subsequent development of a sustainable house.
The development of a sustainable home or set of homes in a form a housing scheme includes completion of various engineering and management activities;
Table 1; Project Activities to be completed for the development of a sustainable home
When planning to construct sustainable homes, it is critically important to consider/assess the environmental impact of each and every activity tabulated as above. Further to this, once the house is completed, the operational performance with respect to energy and materials utilization also plays a vital role in determining the sustainability of the home.
In order to achieve the desired sustainability standards, the layout planning and designing is considered of prime importance. The construction area coverage, in-cooperating good ventilation system, water/energy utilization, green coverage and many other parameters must all be detailed in the early stages of the plan. Use of smart materials during the construction phase also holds key importance in today’s world of advanced technologies.
The following provides detailed information of key sustainable practices which must be considered for the development of a reference sustainable home.
The floor layout plans of the house have to be proposed / prepared while considering the adaptability of the available space. To be well-suited for diverse clients, the size and openness of the rooms, living spaces and other partitions have to be outlined such that the present as well as future requirements of the residents are considered. This house is intended for lifetime versatility through attainment of the following features;
Figure 8: Layout Plan for an example Sustainable Home (Source: edited using MS Office/Paint)
As it can be seen from the figure above, this house incorporates a large passageway which offers access to the ground floor and also the top floor. This entrance has been designed such that the ground floor as well as the top floor could be used as an independent studio house. The blue range is the toilet on the ground floor and could be stretched to a bathroom by adding the storage space to it.
Additional spaces have been left open for an additional rest room, living room or other facilities. The CAD layout on the right side of the figure 8 is another option of the flexible the design of the proposed house. The final design of course will be have to finalized and approved in consultation with the all the stake holders.
In the layout planning and designing of this house, an enhanced spatial arrangement, safe passageway and an adaptable configuration has been incorporated with a specific end goal to increase the lifetime of the house. Safe ventilation openings have also been incorporated for both the passive/hybrid and the active concepts.
These measures will impact the expenses of the house. Through accessibility, planning the measure of valuable area will change; the internal walls area increases, and for safe ventilation openings additional materials are required for the window outline.
Building materials have a significant impact on the overall sustainability of the house; primarily on the environment, embodied energy and health of residents. Compressive evaluation will be conducted and diagrams of primary utilized materials along with their general impact on the surroundings will be presented before the bills of quantities are approved.
The bases of the material selection criteria have already been discussed in the previous chapter, including a case study of stainless steel. The same methodology will be adopted to ensure utilization of only the most sustainable materials for this house.
The fires resistant gypsum wall partitions will be used for internal partition of the house, enabling excessive user option for a diversified spatial plan. The gypsum partitions will be supported through stainless steel frames.
In order to understand the potential outcomes of applying the sustainable energy advances, the relating conditions at the building site will be examined. These conditions incorporate data about solar irradiation, wind velocity and accessibility, precipitation and geographical details. These data resources can then be specifically analyzed to see if it would be reasonable / viable to use certain technologies in the building.
Accomplishing thermal comfort levels inside the house (primary heating interest) is possible through both active and passive methods. Considering sustainable design, the need for higher indoor temperatures, as compared to outside, can be fulfilled in many ways, such as;
The most widely used heat distribution system for residential buildings is the high temperature radiators, which are designed for water supply temperature of 90 degree C and a return temperature of 70 degree C.
To accomplish a comfortable temperature in the active concept, a low temperature water distribution terminal heating system will be installed. The upper limit of heating capacity (W/m2) can be determined for every system type by taking the user floor range, for example 100-125 m2 as a reference house, and the user requirements. This system is suitable for a number of low energy heat generation frameworks, which is ideal for a sustainable house plan.
In order to accomplish a comfortable temperature in the passive concept, the focus will also be on building skin improvements so as to minimize the impacts of outside environment. This infers expanding the thermal capacity of the materials used for construction, and ensuring optimum thermal insulations.
Supply of fresh air and an appropriate exhaust system has to be accommodated in order to maintain healthy environment in the house building. The indoor air ought to be kept free from contaminations, from inside and outside the building. According to the environmental protection agency, the concentration of CO2 must be kept underneath 800 ppm (for normal density of people) and outdoor concentration of CO2 of around 350 ppm.
Design considerations of ventilation frameworks are mostly dependent upon the energy usage for driving fans or preheating of ventilation air and the thermal comfort of the residents. The optimization of both the parameters makes the ventilation in houses a complex task. The common design parameters are the draught, the measure of fresh air, the air quality and the noise generated by system operations or ventilation openings.
Different ventilation methods / techniques are available, which all have their pros and cons; however natural inlet with mechanical exhaust system (hybrid or active) will be utilized for the proposed house. By utilization of mechanical exhaust, the ventilation stream will always be guaranteed.
Exhausts will be installed in the kitchen, restroom and toilets. Design consideration with respect to operation of the system such as user dependency, control and flow will be incorporated in the detailed design of the house. The systems is expected to provide more secure air flow streams as compared to natural ventilation, along with a simple user control system a minimal duct sizes.
Figure 9: Natural inlet with mechanical exhaust system (Source: edited using MS Office/Paint)
The thermal comfort can be guaranteed via cautious design for the openings, whereas acoustic comfort will be attained by utilizing sound baffles on areas with high outside noise loads. In order to reduce any additional energy losses by infiltration streams, resources will be spent in increasing the air tightness of the buildings.
To guarantee a healthy living environment, visual comfort specifications have to be considered as one of the primary aspects of house development. The outline might be impacted by ‘Daylight’ or ‘Artificial’ lighting. Natural lighting is favored because of its expansive range of colors and the variations in intensity. From prospective of energy efficiency, the natural light is favored over artificial lighting, because of the fact that the house partitions can be naturally luminated without any power requirements.
For both sources, the sizes of windows and glazing will be evaluated with a specific objective of accomplishing acceptable daylight factors and to decrease power use for artificial lighting. Therefore, energy proficient lighting system with control will be focused in the design of this house. Along with the maximum utilization of daylight, LED lights and motion sensors will be installed to reduce energy consumption of lighting.
The type of windows will be selected with primary focus on the transmission values, and shades will be fabricated to attain the desired sunlight levels, while ensuring the overheating is avoided. The definite sizes and attribute decision will take place during the design process.
To achieve a high acoustic comfort level inside the building, it is essential to install effective noise barrier and sound insulation, so that the noise level can be brought down to an acceptable level. Air sound insulation methods will be based on increasing the mass (as increasing the by a factor of 2 increases the insulation by +5 dB), using additional layers with air in the middle and increasing the cavities inside the structure.
These measures reduce the effectiveness of sound energy passing through the building. Additionally the actual sound load on the outer side of the structure could be reduced through and engineered building shape. Balconies and well organized fronts can lessen the effect of the noise load. It is important to note that openings in a structure, such as ventilation grill, cracks, or ductwork largely can reduce the sound insulation of a certain structure. Measures to lessen contact sound are the uncoupling of installations from the structure, utilization of detached cavity walls, lowered ceilings and floating deck floors.
An examination of the sustainable energy innovations is carried out to make a comparison between various choices to create energy from renewable sources or utilize the energy within a proficient way. The consequences of the investigation will uncover the pros and cons of the choices available.
As specified above, site conditions are examined for the following available technologies;
Breakdown of the energy utilization of the households reflects the main energy utilization for every energy source. In most cases, the energy used for space and water heating has the largest share in the total energy consumption. As indicated by an assessment carried out by Nijenmanting and Senel in 2010, the space heating requirement of the house for one family is approximately evaluated to be 84 kWh/m2 (0.95 boiler efficiency, 125 m2), But if this value is reduced to 20 kWh/m2, the energy required for space heating would be lower than that of generating hot water. Therefore we must look forward to alternative and renewable energy resources which can provide the environmental free energy for the primary energy requirements of the house residents.
It is also important to note that the energy utilized by the appliances is the most important component for power utilization in most houses. Accordingly, appliances which are energy efficient will significantly lessen the power demand.
The CO2 discharge is associated with the utilization of electricity and natural gas. Evaluation of these energy resources helps in identifying which fuel causes more CO2 discharge, and the impact they generate with respect to the greenhouse gas emissions. From the previous research and studies conducted, it was noted that utilizing electricity causes less CO2 emissions as compared to natural gas. Normal utilization of natural gas in the house produces almost 3 tones of CO2 emissions while this amount is 2 tones for electricity use, i.e. 1.5 times higher. This figure represents that minimizing natural gas utilization is comparatively more important than electricity utilization, as far as greenhouse gas discharges are concerned. However it worth noting that direct heating by natural gas is more efficient as compared to electricity and produces fewer gas emissions.
Solar irradiation is an important parameter for the outline of the house. Both the passive solar house design and the solar energy related innovations are influenced by the solar properties of the area. The accessibility, direction and the capability of the solar illumination are basic factors which must be considered before having to install the solar panels
As per the Photovoltaic Geographical Information System, yearly total/data of worldwide irradiation can be acquired. Besides the sun based irradiation data, sun orientation diagrams are helpful to find out the direction of the building and its passive solar design. PV solar panels are commonly utilized and a standout amongst the most promising electricity supply technologies in the buildings. PVs could be introduced in stand-alone or part of a grid design. In this study, it is taken that the panel is put on top of the building and is linked with the grid.
As has been a standout amongst the most promising sources of renewable energy, the likelihood of applying wind energy is contemplated. For that reason, normal wind speeds recorded in the area of interest will be investigated along with the wind directions. This study can likewise help to find out the position of the ventilation openings in the building to make utilization of the open air for the purpose of natural ventilation.
The highly efficient natural gas powered boilers will be installed for this house; condensing boilers are the most generally utilized heat generation systems for the residential areas (Eijdems and Boerstra, 1999). The high efficiency boiler in 107 of class might be utilized to fulfill heating needs in the house. The normal efficiency of this kind of boilers is approximately 90-97.5% (Senter Novem).
A heat pump takes heat from a source and supplies it to a sink at a higher temperature, as characterized by ASHRAE. Heat pumps are a proficient method for creating heat by utilizing natural gas or electricity to power the compressor. The most generally utilized heat pump sources are outdoor air, surface water, exhaust ventilation air and ground sources. Since the theoretical configuration does not have an accurate area characterized, surface water is not considered as a choice for the configuration of this house.
Micro-CHP frameworks are considered as a standout amongst the most productive approaches to change the energy in a primary fuel into electricity and other helpful energy as heat for domestic hot tap water and space heating. When considering the savings of primary energy, the most energy-efficient generation method is the ground source water-to-water heat pump for space heating and the micro CHP unit for a combination of space heating and household hot water. Nonetheless, at present accessible micro CHP units run on natural gas, which is based on fossil fuel.
Unlike electricity, natural gas can't be produced on the spot through renewable energy sources. Despite the fact that biogas is an alternative for the future applications, considering the practices common nowadays, the ground source water-to-water heat pumps are the most suitable alternative for space heating. Moderately high primary energy utilization might be repaid by introducing solar thermal collectors on the top of the house. The solar thermal collector type will be chosen focused around the expenses of the frameworks since the primary energy saved from both types is equivalent.
Since the active concept will involve installations to make up for the generally higher demand for thermal energy, horizontal ground sources with a constrained ground region (considering central location in the town) might be lacking which will prompt the utilization of the vertical ground heat exchangers. As discussed already, the utilization of solar thermal collectors and PV is compelling to decrease the primary energy utilization.
All these methods, considerations, analyses and the exertions fabricate a sustainable built environment. As a consequence of the investigation, the following methodologies ought to be adopted for development of this house;
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The sustainable architecture and the associated practices are leading the engineers to the edge of technological advancements, and there are as of now formal frameworks of execution rules, sample specifications, and BS standards for application of the energy efficient and sustainable engineering designs.
Green building activities in the UK has been flourishing in urban areas on account of the recent publicity by the local authorities, engineers, architects, and local leaders. This is a positive sign for sustainable development as green building strategies allow people to imagine a different living approach. Then again, there is much space for more developments and the accompanying sustainable practices must be supported within a brief period of time.
Recent efforts by the supporters of green architecture have influenced the city planners and other authorities to consider/ understand that carbon emissions must be reduced to an adequate level in the next few decades. The Government has actualized arrangements which particularly focus on the decrease of these effluents and hence much research and developments are in line to meet these progressions.
Development of sustainable homes with utilization of potential renewable energy sources is one domain which has progressed to an advanced level in the last few years. Through research and development, it can be concluded that although there is room for more improvements with respect to technological advancements, there are sufficient and effective methods available which can be implemented to gain resourcefulness and effective enhancements in sustainable homes.
Latest research and innovations have provided the world with updated resources and techniques, which have proven to be durable, efficient and environmentally friendly. These systems include solar energy, wind energy, heat pumps, hybrid technology and many other, which have revolutionized the planning process of today’s engineers.
Materials selection, layout planning, energy efficiency, resource planning and energy conservation are some of the fundamental parameters that have seen consistent optimization in the last many years. Much of the data on these parameters is readily available, and must be consulted for the development of sustainable homes.
The research completed in this paper provided evidence that sustainable developments of homes can create a positive impact on the society we live in. The possibility of protecting the nature while ensuring all the requirements are fulfilled is possible, with sustainable engineering and planning. Economically as well as technically, the potential use of sustainable practices have been proven to be successful and viable.
The generation of designers, organizers and architects working today have a tremendously important obligation. Natural assets are on the edge of being beset by a non-reversible harm and when social detachment is at its worst, a wave of progress of sustainable architecture around the world will help sustainable advancement and will have a positive impact on the life for those to come.
For the benefits of sustainable architecture to be maximized, its coordination with the local environmental protection agencies is pivotal. Sustainable development of homes provides um-matched facilities to the residents. It is important to support the activities and ideas aimed to attain more sustainable architecture, so that long term benefits and profits are secured from initial investments.
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